The National Wooden Pallet and Container Association (NWPCA) Technical and PDS Manager, Dr. Brad Gething, co-hosted a sold-out two and half day educational short course with Dr. Laszlo Horvath, Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech and Director of the Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design (CPULD).  The course, titled “Wood Pallet Design and Performance: Pallet Design in the 21st Century,” focused on developing techniques to design efficient and safe wood pallets using the industry standard software program, The Pallet Design System™ (PDS).

The course covered the major aspects of pallet design that affect performance: the location and dimensions of pallet components, the materials used, and the loading and handling conditions the pallet experiences. When these considerations are accounted for and simulated in PDS, pallet strength, stiffness and durability can be accurately predicted, leading to safer and more efficient pallet usage.

Amazon, DuPont, and 19 companies representing a broad cross-section of pallet manufacturers and recyclers, pallet brokers and end-users of pallets participated. Dr. Horvath noted, “We were very pleased to collaborate with NWPCA for the second year in a row. This partnership provides these packaging specialists a range of industry and academic experiences on safe pallet design techniques.” Added Dr. Gething, “CPULD at Virginia Tech is an outstanding facility to host a course on pallet design. The attendees were able to observe actual load tests in a lab setting while learning how to simulate loading a pallet using PDS.”

Planning for the spring of 2016 is already taking place, and will be held in Washington, DC. More information will be provided on both organization’s websites: PalletCentral.com and the Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design.


The National Wooden Pallet & Container Association (NWPCA) is the largest international organization of wood packaging professionals in the world with 640 member companies located throughout the United States and in 28 countries. The Pallet Design System™ (PDS) is the most used pallet design system in the world with 400 corporations in 24 countries using the software.

The Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design housed in the Department of Natural Resources is the leading pallet and unit load research and testing laboratories. The laboratory was established in 1976 and since then it focuses on the education of Virginia Tech students, developing state-of-the-art research knowledge related to unit load interactions, and serving the needs of the pallet and packaging industries.


Dr. Brad Gething, NWPCA Technical and PDS Manager

Dr. Laszlo Horvath, Director of CPULD, Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech